Jason Soul / Staff Reporter
Due to the global pandemic, it has been a question among people whether Halloween would be celebrated normally. As Halloween is around the corner, many people have offered predictions and prospects on how Halloween this year will be celebrated. Some say that it will continue to be celebrated with slight changes, like which protocols to follow, or even no changes at all. On the contrary, some argue that it will be cancelled since trick-or-treating requires frequent physical interactions with others.
According to The New York Times, people will not have to give up on celebrating Halloween. Although traditional trick-or-treating would be much riskier than any other holidays, the Centers for Disease Control guidelines say that it is considered safe to gather outdoors with face coverings. The C.D.C has categorized activities in three levels of risk: higher risk, moderate risk, and lower risk. Lower risk activities include carving pumpkins with family members, decorating a house, and having a virtual Halloween costume contest; all of which are fun and safe holiday activities.
The scientists of C.D.C also say that Halloween should not be cancelled because people need to have fun and it has an impact on the economy. Halloween is a billion-dollar industry and completely cancelling it will lead to a major economic disruption. Furthermore, it can be very hard on teenagers’ mental health, considering the difficulties and the changes they have faced since the pandemic began. Halloween this year will be extra special for them, as it will be a stress-relieving holiday.
“I think completely taking away Halloween could be detrimental to some of the mental health issues that kids are facing right now,” said Dr. Tista Ghosh. She added that she always cautions people to “balance the risk of whatever activity they’re doing with mental health risks as well and look for ways to minimize risk rather than reduce risk to zero, because that’s just not possible.”
CNN news also supports the idea of celebrating Halloween. The news says that The Hershey Company, known for Hershey’s chocolates, has developed a website that maps out how to trick-or-treat safely. The website has different colour codes for areas, showing whether they are at a place of the lower risk level of COVID-19 or at a high-risk level. The map also lists the number of confirmed cases to help people to stay out of risky areas. Hershey’s is a chocolate company that sells sweets used during trick or treating and because of that, they would want to encourage people to participate in the activity so that they could make money.
Conversely, USA Today is more slanted towards the idea of banning Halloween. They say that even the areas of low risk of transmission could spur an outbreak. Also, USA Today mentions that it is unrealistic to think that children will be able to maintain social distancing recommendations, as they walk around in groups and are handed treats. Because the virus is already such a big problem in the US already, USA Today would want to discourage activities such as Halloween.
“I just don’t see how it’s feasible to do this safely,” said Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious disease at UC Davis Health and UC Davis Children’s Hospital. He added that while masks help mitigate spread, they “don’t eliminate risk.”
Along with USA Today, Global News believes that celebrating Halloween can lead to an increase in infection. Global News reports that prime minister Justin Trudeau has said that he and his family will not be taking the risk. The Ontario chief medical officer of health Dr. David William advised parents to skip Halloween this year, stating that different types of sacrifices are needed to reduce community transmission.
“Listening to public health officials means that my family will not be going trick-or-treating this year,” said Trudeau. He adds that Ottawa is a red zone, where local public health officials have recommended foregoing door-to-door trick-or-treating.
The second wave of COVID-19 has hit Canada and because Global News is a Canadian news source, they would give out articles that would discourage people to celebrate Halloween.
Although all these new sources reported on the same topic of Halloween, they all have different opinions. While The New York Times and CNN support the idea of celebrating Halloween because it can be done in a safe way, USA Today and Global News believe that it is right to ban it. The bias of journalists can lead the audience to believe in inaccurate and unfair information. It is important for news to avoid bias and be reasonable. The audience of news should also be able to notice bias in the news and avoid news that is heavy opinionated or one-sided.